Functional movement exercises give extra purpose to your workout. These moves will strengthen your body in such a way that you can perform better in your daily activities of living. These movements can be used to improve overall stamina, strength and help to avoid injuries such as the dreaded tweak you get in your back when your bend over the wrong way.
Why functional movements?
It is important to incorporate functional movements into your workouts to increase strength, coordination, and balance. These movements are transferable into your daily activities. The more your practice, the easier they become, and the more comfortable it is to complete your daily tasks. Working on functional movements will make things like carrying groceries into the house feel easier.
How they translate over into daily life
Some of these exercises may seem like they only belong in the gym, but these movements are often overlooked throughout the day. The squat is similar to a sitting down and standing up motion. Hinging at the hip is another underrated movement, as we often do this movement to pick things up off the floor. The most underrated movement is walking, and incorporating walking into a workout plan can help to improve overall endurance. Each of the following 7 movements is designed to improve your ability to complete daily activities. For anyone who struggles walking at work, carrying items, picking things up off the floor, or pushing a grocery cart, adding these movements to your workout routine will improve your functionality.
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7 Main Movements
- Squat – The squat is one of the simplest and most versatile exercises. There are tons of squat variations, but for functional training stick to a standard squat. This will help to work your quads, hamstrings, glutes, core, and calves. Sitting down will get a little easier when you incorporate squats into your workouts.
- Lunge – Walking, stair climbing, and reaching towards the floor all benefit from lunges. The lunge works the core, back, glutes, quads, hamstrings and calve muscles. Lunges can be done with just bodyweight or for extra intensity some free weights.
- Hinge – the hinge is a movement that can cause serious back pain, and is associated with “throwing out your back”. The deadlift is a perfect exercise for this movement. It helps to train you for one of the most functional daily movements, picking up something from the floor.
- Push – The push movement is best worked with a push-up, or a resistance band press for those unable to do push-ups. The standard push-up works your triceps, chest, core, and shoulder muscles.
- Pull – You don’t need to do intense pull-ups to get the benefits of a pull exercise. One of the simplest ways to incorporate a pull movement is with a resistance band pull movement. This will help to strengthen your shoulders and back, to better help pull out weeds, or pull a dog’s leash. This movement will strengthen your back, shoulders, and core.
- Rotate – The twisting motion of the trunk, a reaching motion, can often cause discomfort throughout the day. Using a resistance band to train rotating at the trunk can help improve both strength and balance through your core.
- Walk – Did you get your steps in today? Walking is the simplest and most underrated exercise we take for granted. Walking should be incorporated into every workout program to improve gait, and endurance in your daily activities.
How to program your workouts to hit all 7
When programming your workouts you need to consider the muscle groups being trained and how they relate to your daily activities. When programming your workouts you want to include the 7 movements listed above to get a full-body workout. Avoid using machine-based movements, or mobility aids that reduce physical requirements. Many of these functional movements work because they are simple, and mimic daily movements.